It's the end of an era. After 23 years at the helm of the University of Oklahoma, President David Boren is retiring.
There was a standing ovation as Boren approached the podium to deliver the news. Many of those in the packed room hadn't even been born yet when Boren became president of the university 23 years ago. He told the crowd the time is right to pass the baton.
“I wanted the transition to occur with a university it was a maximum strength," Boren said. "I believe the right time has come. That is why today I plan to retire as president of University of Oklahoma effective at the end of the school year."
Boren thanked his family, students, supporters, and the people of Oklahoma, not just for trusting him to lead the university but for trusting him during his long career that included being governor, senator, and chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"I'm grateful to the people of Oklahoma," Boren said, "for giving me the opportunity to render public service for over 50 years."
Students were surprised by the announcement.
"President Boren," said student Jack Sparks, "he's an amazing guy. He's had a great presidency here. Needless to say, I'm sure all the students are very surprised."
Recently retired OU football coach Bob Stoops said he gets it and he's proud of his friend.
"(I) just can't express enough my appreciation for him," Stoops said. "His direction. His leadership. His guidance through all these years. He's been a great friend to me on top of them of course on top of being a great mentor."
Now it will be up to the OU Board of Regents to choose a successor. Boren wouldn't say whether he had anybody in mind.